- Low carbon incubation fund launched as Europe sees a 40% decrease in share of clean energy investment since 2007
- Partnership seeks to support start-up clean technology businesses as GE'S Innovation Barometer indicates 1 in 2 businesses see the UK as a challenging environment for innovation
- Initiative an extension of GE's ecomagination Challenge - a $200M global programme to find and fund the best ideas in clean tech technology
GE and the Carbon Trust today announced a new pan-European partnership to accelerate European clean tech growth amid growing evidence that the region is struggling to keep up with other parts of the globe in this critical sector.
The initial 18 month phase of the partnership includes a $5 million business incubation fund targeted at new low carbon technologies in the area of infrastructure applications. The Carbon Trust will work with GE to identify and evaluate early stage companies, then incubate and invest in those with the most potential. This partnership is part of the $200 million GE ecomagination Challenge, a global open innovation initiative with Venture Capital partners that launched in 2010 to find and fund the best ideas around clean tech technology. To date, GE and partners have committed $134 million for investment and commercial partnerships with start-up companies globally.
According to GE's recent Innovation Barometer, which polled 2,800 businesses across 22 markets globally, the majority of UK companies surveyed saw innovation as fundamental to the future health of the UK - both economically and socially - but that sufficient triggers are not in place to stimulate and encourage it.
The results make it clear that UK companies see collaboration as a key to future growth. 84% of UK businesses believe that developing partnerships and collaboration with a combination of players - including government, big business, SMEs and individuals - is the key to success in innovation. Almost 9 out of 10 UK businesses also claim that SMEs and individual entrepreneurs can be as innovative as bigger companies, reinforcing the need for seed funding and support for local innovations and ideas.
Low carbon innovators are set to benefit from a new funding partnership that bucks the trend of decreasing European clean energy investment.
Cleantech has the capacity to be a strong growth driver for Europe given its strong research capability and track record in this area. However, there is increasing evidence that other parts of the world are catching up and overtaking the region. This exciting initiative will accelerate the commercialisation of Europe's more promising cleantech businesses.
Tom Delay, Chief Executive, Carbon Trust
Over the past five years Europe has seen its global clean energy lead eroded compared to other parts of the world. According to a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance report*, in 2007 42% of the world's clean energy investment took place in Europe compared to just 25% today. During the same period Asia Oceania has almost doubled its share of overall investment.
Analysis of venture capital investment activity in Q4 2011 by the Cleantech Group showed that North America accounted for almost two thirds of total venture capital investments in the cleantech sector in this period, with Europe and Asia Pacific accounting for just 19% and 18% respectively.
GE was one of the first global companies to develop a strategy around the environment and business with our highly successful ecomagination initiative. We are increasingly focused on identifying new businesses, technologies and human talent in this area. GE sees the business benefit but also the potential these new technologies offer in delivering overall economic growth and improved resource efficiency.
Mark Elborne, Chief Executive, GE UK
This announcement marks a major development for the Carbon Trust and will help Europe achieve its potential. The region has historically led innovation in this area but we increasingly need to ensure clean technology businesses are commercialised fast and effectively so Europe can keep ahead. During a downturn, supporting these businesses becomes doubly important: research studies show that such high growth businesses account for a disproportionate amount of job growth. At the same time, they have a greater need for capital than lower growth businesses and this can be an issue if banks are restrained on lending. Incubation funds such as this one can help.
Tom Delay, Chief Executive, Carbon Trust
For further information
GE Media contacts:
Corporate Communications Director, GE UK
0207 302 6068
07717 517 071
For more information and to speak to a Carbon Trust spokesperson, please contact the Carbon Trust press office:
0207 544 3100
Notes to editors:
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.
ecomagination is GE's commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today's environmental challenges while driving economic growth.
More information on GE's Global Innovation Barometer can be found here.
About the Carbon Trust
The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy, providing specialist support to business and the public sector to help cut carbon emissions, save energy and commercialise low carbon technologies. By stimulating low carbon action we contribute to key UK goals of lower carbon emissions, the development of low carbon businesses, increased energy security and associated jobs.
We help to cut carbon emissions now by
- Providing specialist advice and finance to help organisations cut carbon
- Setting standards for carbon reduction
We reduce potential future carbon emissions by
- Opening markets for low carbon technologies
- Leading industry collaborations to commercialise technologies
- Investing in early stage low carbon companies
*Bloomberg New Energy Finance report "Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment in 2011".